News Column

Karachi: Utility stores face sugar shortage

August 19, 2014

Sugar has become a rare commodity for the last one week at more than 150 outlets of the Utility Store Corporation (USC) operating in different areas of Karachi - causing severe hardship to a large number of consumers hailing from lower and middle segment of the population.

The most demanded commodity of almost every kitchen - has almost disappeared from all the USC outlets in Karachi city owing to discontinuation of the supply from godowns of Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) for the last many days. Ironically, TCP has around 3½ tonnes of sugar in its godowns - imported with sole objective to keep sway over its rates in the open market besides facilitating poor segment of the population by means of provision of subsidised commodity to them.

However, for reasons best known to officials of the corporation, this huge quantity is not released to the USC outlets in the city - which is creating its severe scarcity in the process.

As a consequence, the deputed staff at all the outlets of the corporation has been facing wrath of disgruntled consumers for non-availability of the most desired commodity. An official of the corporation replying to a query of the scribe admitted that daily a large number of buyers at all outlets of the USC return empty handed in the wake of drying up of its stock.

It has become virtually impossible for the concerned staff to appease furious buyers as many are not willing to trust their words relating to non-supply of the commodity from government stores - as they smell rat in the whole affair. All efforts to convince higher authorities of the USC to help restore supply line have proved abortive as they are also complaining about short supply of sugar by the TCP for the last one week.

It transpired during a visit to one of the USC outlet situated in Block M, Commercial area of North Nazimabad Town that buyers are facing unprecedented shortage of sugar, which is not even available to them at any of the retail or wholesale outlets.

“During the last four days, I had to return empty handed from this outlet for the commodity was un-available as claimed by the employees of this USC, which is causing severe problems for my family” said a buyer in reply to a question of the scribe. According to him the sugar has become a rare commodity for him, as he never experienced such level of scarcity, which clearly manifests lack of interest on the part of government to ameliorate problem of helpless consumers.

Disturbed by the non-availability of the most demanded commodity by the consumers, he did not rule out any untoward incident in the near future if the shortage of the commodity persisted. Another USC outlet situated across MPA hostel, close to Sindh High Court - faced the similar shortage situation, as the staff of the store was unable to satisfy questions of large number of consumers trying finding reasons behind non-availability of the sugar.

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Source: Daily Messenger (Pakistan)

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